Internet Diagnosis: Friend or Foe of Wellness Professionals?

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You know how clients and patients will say, “Well, I read online that cardio isn’t…”  And really, they’re confused, or partially-informed…or just plain wrong?

Like it or not, “internet diagnosis” is on the rise. The Pew report “Health Online 2013” breaks down the statistics. In a nutshell, younger people, women, white people, higher-income people, and more-educated people are likely to research health concerns online – but nearly every possible demographic you can think of is well-represented!

So chances are, many of your clients are digging around in Google to figure out why their back hurts or how to lose 10 pounds or lower their blood pressure.

However: there’s plenty of misinformation online about health concerns. That’s where this trend presents an opportunity for you to start a dialogue with current and potential customers.

For example, you could develop a list of the top bits of misinformation you hear from clients. Then put together a website article (and link to it in your newsletter) that pokes holes in the myths and gives them the straight scoop. Webinar or seminar topics like “Mythbusters: Is Everything You Read Online About Back Pain False?” also attract attention.

Take their efforts to research their problems seriously. Don’t treat them like idiots and dismiss their printouts. Encourage them to talk to you about what they’ve read on the Web. You’re the expert fitness trainer, dietitian, or chiropractor. You’re standing right there. You put a face on the information, and the Web can’t do that.